tip off

Tips and rumours

When a media redundo is not voluntary … civil disobedience on power bill propaganda … readers prepare for end of the world …

From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Too close to home? Chris Warren, federal secretary of the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance, has had a battle on his hands fighting the media giants to stop them sacking journos — the alliance’s preference is for voluntary redundancies. So is it true that a MEAA staffer has been forced to take redundancy this week? We called Warren, who said he would not comment on internal staff matters. Mind you, he’s pretty keen to comment on the internal staff matters of other companies …

Health cuts in Qld. Campbell Newman’s budget cuts are not supposed to be targeting frontline staff, but we’re hearing rumours that intensive care beds at hospitals are closing and redundancies for nurses are expected next year. “How the in-construction surgical wards being built at this hospital for this rapidly growing city will be staffed is anyone’s guess,” our mole says. We’ve heard claims that junior staff who try to speak out against the cuts are rewarded with “inflexible and unreasonable roster changes”.

Bill wars. Who knew that when you opened your electricity bill, you’d enter a propaganda war? Tips has been investigating readers’ concerns about compulsory red notices on NSW power bills blaming green schemes for price hikes. The red notice is mandated by the NSW government. Several readers have sent us this flyer which they received with their bill, from the other side — the feds, putting the impact of the carbon price into perspective.

We’ve heard back from many subscribers who’ve contacted their electricity retailer, the regulator and the NSW government to complain about the red notice. The offending notice says that green schemes have added $316 a year “to a typical 7MWh household bill” (the figure comes from IPART). One reader says this is misleading for the many households whose consumption is below 7MWh — “my contention is that 7MWh is not typical, and even if it is most people haven’t a clue about megawatts or kilowatts and have no basis on which to make an informed comparison,” the reader says.

Another aggrieved tipster reckons the red notice is “deceptive and/or misleading advertising within the meaning of the act and should be the subject of a complaint to Fair Trading … Oh, I forgot! … That’s the same crowd, isn’t it ?” And we’ve heard from several readers who have refused to pay their bill until it is sent to them without the red notice. Here’s another approach being trialed:

Sent my electricity bill back (after paying it) and told them to remove the political rubbish and return it for my records. I got a call from a perplexed person and advised her to stick masking tape over it. It came back unchanged but I’ll try again next time. It’s worth the stamp to raise the issue.”

Tips is deeply law-abiding and would not wish to incite civil disobedience, but we think the idea of forcing the electricity companies to send out the bill with masking tape over Barry O’Farrell’s red notice is brilliant. Let us know how you get on! And can readers in other states please fill us in on whether there is any political propaganda on your power bills?

The end of the world. Tips is excited about the world ending tomorrow, Mayan time. We consulted our valued readers as to how they planned to spend their last day on earth; here are our favourites.

We will be starting the day at Sandgate in Queensland with an anti McDonald’s demonstration as part of our ongoing campaign outside the site of the proposed McDonald’s in Rainbow St, from 6.45am. Should the world in fact end on that day, we will be delighted as the universe will be freed from McDonald’s forever.

Well, my next PAYG installment is due on February 28, 2013 — so, just to be on the safe side, I paid it yesterday, just in case the world does come to an end this Friday. You don’t want the ATO coming after you for an unpaid tax bill in the afterlife.

I’ll be flying to Bangkok. When I initially thought about this, I wondered how the plane would land, and on what, and where, when the world ends.  But then I realised that of course Bangkok is another world, so I expect it will all be OK.

My daughter and her partner will still be in bed when I leave for work, so won’t really see them to say goodbye (that is if it hasn’t happened by 9am-ish). I’ll be celebrating my last day at work for 2012. Probably finish cleaning out my office — I’ll be very unhappy if the world doesn’t end to come back to a pile of shit that still needs to be tidied in January!

I’m deciding if I trust NASA, though they have shaken my faith somewhat by releasing their “after the apocalypse hasn’t happened” video somewhat prematurely!

I shall wake early on Saturday, while it is still Friday in the US, and log my laptop into the NASA site which debunks the “end of the world” paranoia. If they are wrong, I shall gloat at the egg on their faces.

On Friday I’ll be going to work as usual, then heading home to open a fine bottle of Hunter Valley red to celebrate being on holiday. I don’t believe the world will end this week, and if it does … oh well, it was great game.

*Heard anything that might interest Crikey? Send your tips to boss@crikey.com.au or use our guaranteed anonymous form.

1
  • 1
    zut alors
    Posted Thursday, 20 December 2012 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Re the world ending: if I’m holding the winning numbers for Saturday’s Cross Lotto I’ll be livid.

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